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Have you ever considered Albania on your list of destinations to visit? Well two avid travellers decided to explore this fascinating and beautiful country on an Imaginative Traveller Tailor Made holiday. This father and daughter team were interested in history, heritage and culture and with the help of one of our Tailor Made consultants an itinerary was created to tick all of these boxes. They travelled in May which was perfect as they were greeted with glorious weather and virtually had the country to themselves.
High on their list of special experiences was the ancient city of Butrint and the preserved Ottoman towns of Gjirokastra, Ohrid and Berat. Butrint’s historical inhabitants have included the Greeks, Romans and even the Venetians. Its ruins clearly reflect the different periods in the city’s incredible development. A surprising delight was coming across families of terrapins (small turtles) happily swimming about in the Ancient Roman Baths.
Gjirokastra is overlooked by a majestic castle and it was from here that our travellers had their first view of this Ottoman style town with its cobble streets and traditional homes. Ohrid is a relaxed and pretty town with a great infrastructure for travellers. Its lakeside Church of St Jovan at Kaneo is one of the most photographed churches in the Balkans because of its location. A trip over the lake before heading back to the town was a lovely way to finish the day. The hotel used in Ohrid is a character villa right in the heart of the Old Town where they were made to feel most welcome by the staff.
In fact they felt welcomed where ever they travelled and in particular by their personal driver/guide. He provided a wealth of information about the Albania of the past, present and future and they mentioned him at the top of their list of what made their holiday special. Aside from the heritage sites and the people, they loved the mountainous landscape with its forests of oak, beech, pine and coniferous trees, along with clear blue streams. The local cuisine also proved to be a hit with mountain herbs used in salads, pastries of fresh spinach and fetta cheese and they even got to try goats stew.
When asked if they had any helpful information for other travellers they said that overall things went very smoothly. Euros are accepted everywhere although change is usually given in the local currency which is the Lek. They did tip for good service at restaurants using the standard 10% of the bill ratio. The roads are quite good and so travelling was comfortable. They went for 7 days and that made for a pleasant trip in the south and into Macedonia however they would advise if travelling further north then 10 – 14 days would be advisable.
Overall our travellers found Albania to be an easy, relaxed and lovely country to visit and they have returned home with stories to tell and some very fond memories.
See our sample itineraries and enquire about travelling with Imaginative Traveller Tailor Made.